I have trouble deciding on my favorite post from this semester, so I’m sharing three. There were some really interesting assignments that required me to interview really special people, which seems to be what I like most about reporting. I really enjoy getting to know new people and sharing their stories with others. In addition to the “fun” posts, I also really liked the Jobs Post because it was helpful to look at what kinds of positions are available for me.
This class opened my eyes up to several things. First and foremost, I now know that the internet can be my friend. Prior to this semester, everything that had any form of mechanical workings was out to get me. I still have the occasional run in with a message that my computer is “dumping physical memory” without my permission, but these malfunctions are not as frequent or devastating as they used to be. Like most things, once I understood more about the digital world, I began to like it some. I still prefer the feel of paper between my fingers, but at least now I do not expect that my demise will be the result of a computer rebellion; I’ll probably just get hit by a bus or something.
I have learned the importance of the news consumer. Our audience funds our salaries by purchasing newspapers and responding to advertisements. Without an audience that is interested in the news we put out, we wouldn’t really have a job. Additionally, when we write only about scheduled events, the news gets repetitive and the corporations start to run the show. It is necessary for journalists to help the people tell the businesses and politicians what to care about. Although I know I still definitely need some practice digging up stories that matter to the public, I am excited that I will eventually be able to help the people control the media.
Another ground breaking revelation I had this semester was that journalism is a frightful industry. I was aware that journalism is extremely competitive and the pay is pretty concerning, it just never really affected me. Now I have a more realistic outlook, which causes me to erupt into fits of panic. I do know I still love journalism. This is still what I want to do, despite my fears. It is a very comforting affirmation when you know that you cannot be scared away by the threat of being homeless.
My personal advice for future COM135 students is to remember it is an introduction. If they take the class and become genuinely freaked out about where they are headed, they may need to reassess their plans. Any student who makes it to the end of the semester in this class with a similar feeling should absolutely continue to study journalism and to prepare themselves for the job market. Anyone whose fears outweigh their joys may need to consider some other options.
Realistically, I would apply to every position that included the word “editor” in it and hope that one of them is interested in me. However, this assignment says to find two jobs, so I ruled out anything that had errors. While I probably would do well at a place that can’t get their job descriptions right, I’m not about to waste my time with a paper that doesn’t care enough to check the spelling in of the job listing… I also ruled out anything that said I would need at least five years of experience (I doubt they’d hire me right out of college). Of the few remaining descriptions, I chose the Mansfield News Journal and The Garden City Telegram.
The Mansfield (OH) News Journal seeks a copy editor (Job #10060) who can demonstrate good judgment in editing for print and digital platforms, can collaborate with reporters/photographers/content editors/digital editors/page designers to produce the best content possible, has a flair for writing headlines that are informative/evocative/provocative, can craft informative cutlines, has mastery of grammar/punctuation/syntax/AP style, will search aggressively for information from reliable sources when copy editing, and can learn and use its CI and Saxotech content management systems.
I like to think that I’m pretty sure I would like to think that I would make a good copy editor who has good news judgments. I am an excellent collaborator and, while I think that “mastery” is a bold word, I believe I have an above average grasp of grammar, syntax, and— now— the AP style. I can definitely search aggressively, but I probably won’t act too aggressively if I can’t find the information I need.
I know I could use some work on my headline and caption writing, and I hope that I can pick that up in the next few years. I also need a little more experience with editing for digital platforms. I now know that different platforms require different writing and editing techniques, so I need to accomplish the same skills for online publications as I already have for print. The final requirement is that I need to be able to learn and use CI and Saxotech. Although I currently have no idea what either of those things is, it says I need to be able to learn it. As long as someone is willing to teach, I am willing and able to learn!
The Garden City (KS) Telegram seeks a copy editor/page designer who can make good copy great, has a knack for designing pages that are engaging and attractive, has the ability to take a lead role on the copy/design desk, can do it all on tight deadlines, can lay out pages, can do occasional writing, knows AP style and can juggle multiple assignments at once; background with InDesign preferred.
Once again, I think I could be a decent copy editor. I like the fact that they say I need to make “good copy great.” It lets me know— or at least believe— that the writers are good at their jobs, they just need a copy editor that can be good at hers. I work best under pressure and I structure my entire life around deadlines and due dates. I am also a fan of the “occasional writing.” I would mostly love to just sit down and edit stories all day, but I know I’ll miss the writing, so it’s good that I know I would get to do some of that here. I know AP style and InDesign and, even though I sometimes go a little nuts, I can still manage a full plate.
The only thing on here— and it’s a pretty big thing— that I really need to work on before I graduate is my ability to design. I did some layouts for my high school publications, but they were very simple and repetitive. If I could learn to come up with creative designs before I enter the market place, I would feel extremely accomplished and ready to take on anything! I’m just not there yet…
When you look at all the information in one spot, it looks like the job is a little bit too demanding. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. A journalist has to be well-rounded. She has to be able to write stories, edit copy, and design pages. She has to be able to snap a photo and record video and audio. She has to be able to edit those sound bites and video clips. She has to “master” writing techniques each of the different platforms: print, online, and broadcast. She has to be able to reach deadlines and get back up if her story doesn’t run. She has to find some chocolate so she can stop worrying so much about her future…